The Stockhausen Handshake

Kate Dempsey

Were you expecting it?
There seemed to be a reciprocation
of warmth in its firmness.

Its soft pads mirrored mine
dry palm to palm
hand curled with four distinct impressions
a fifth snuggled over my thumb
but held, as in withheld, fast.

An abrupt squeeze became restrictive,
entrapment or caution?
A small child’s hand held by a busy road.

When it was time
for a controlled release,
I wasn’t ready.
It’s missed, still missed,
the ghost of your fingers pressed.